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Normal People by Sally Rooney: Book Review

By Sally Rooney

304 Pages

Normal People by Sally Rooney has taken the literary world by storm since its release in 2018. This novel delves into complex themes of love, class, and mental health through the lens of two Irish teenagers from different social backgrounds. The characters Marianne and Connell have become household names, and for good reason. In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes Normal People such a captivating read – from the characters to the author’s style – and why it deserves all the buzz it’s been generating. So grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and let’s dive into this book review!

Summary of the book

Normal People is a captivating novel by Sally Rooney that follows the story of two young people, Marianne and Connell, as they navigate their way through life. The book spans four years of their lives, from high school to university and beyond.

At the beginning of the book, we’re introduced to Marianne and Connell during their final year in high school. Despite being from different social backgrounds – Marianne is wealthy while Connell’s mother works for her family – they spark up an unexpected friendship that eventually leads to something more.

As they graduate and attend Trinity College Dublin together, their relationship becomes strained due to various personal issues such as anxiety and depression. However, despite going through ups-and-downs in both their friendship and romantic relationship over the years after college graduation, these two characters end up becoming important parts of each other’s journey.

Normal People beautifully explores how our past experiences shape who we are today while also touching on themes like class differences, mental health challenges — making it a must-read for anyone looking for a thought-provoking novel about youthfulness with its own twists!


Normal People by Sally Rooney is a novel that revolves around the complex lives of two main characters, Connell and Marianne. Both are students at the same school in Ireland but come from entirely different backgrounds.

Connell is popular, handsome and plays football while Marianne is an introverted loner who comes from a wealthy family. Despite their differences, they form a connection that transcends societal boundaries.

The author does an excellent job of portraying these characters as dynamic individuals with unique personalities and flaws. Connell struggles with his identity as he navigates through life while Marianne deals with issues related to her past trauma.

One of the most compelling aspects of their relationship is how it evolves over time. As they grow older and go off to college, we see them mature into more complex versions of themselves which adds depth to the storyline.

Sally Rooney has created two unforgettable characters whose journey readers will not soon forget.


Themes in Normal People by Sally Rooney are complex and multi-layered, reflecting the complexities of human relationships. One of the key themes is power and its dynamics. The story explores how power can shift between individuals, often without them being fully aware of it.

Another important theme is communication or lack thereof. The two main characters, Connell and Marianne, struggle with expressing their feelings to each other despite having a deep connection. This leads to misunderstandings that have lasting consequences on their relationship.

Rooney also delves into class differences and social hierarchies. Connell comes from a working-class family while Marianne’s family is wealthy and influential. These differences affect their experiences growing up as well as their interactions with each other later in life.

Additionally, Normal People addresses mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. It shows the impact these issues can have on both the individual struggling with them as well as those around them.

Sally Rooney masterfully weaves together various themes throughout Normal People to create a thought-provoking story about love, power dynamics, communication barriers and societal pressures that will leave readers contemplating long after they finish reading it.

Author’s style

Sally Rooney’s unique writing style is what makes Normal People stand out from other contemporary novels. Her prose is simple, yet profound, with a focus on character development and interpersonal relationships.

Rooney uses a minimalist approach to her writing that allows the reader to fill in the gaps themselves. The dialogue between characters feels natural and authentic, as if you are eavesdropping on real conversations happening right in front of you.

Her use of alternating perspectives further adds depth to the novel, giving readers insight into both Connell and Marianne’s thoughts and emotions. This technique creates a sense of intimacy with the characters, allowing readers to truly understand them on a personal level.

Another notable aspect of Rooney’s style is her ability to tackle complex themes such as classism, mental health, and sexuality in an accessible way. She doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but rather confronts them head-on through her characters’ experiences.

Sally Rooney’s unique writing style is what makes Normal People one of the most compelling novels of our time. Her minimalist approach allows for rich character development and exploration of complex themes while remaining engaging for readers at every turn.

About The Author


Publication Date: 2020